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quick & easy

Router Table
This simple table is easy to build, transport,
and stow away at the end of the day.
This router table is packed with some impressive features. But what Ireally like about it is
that it takes only one 5' x 5' sheet of 1/2" Baltic
birch plywood (see the cutting diagram on the
next page) and a weekend to build.
Large Top. Fast, inexpensive construction
isnt the only thing going for this router table.
For starters, the top measures a full 20" x 32".
But theres more to it than size. For example, the top tilts up for easy router access to
change bits and make height adjustments.
And the heavy-duty fence makes accurate

Woodsmith No. 195 Online Extras

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cuts a snap. It takes no effort at all to adjust it


quickly and lock it securely to the tabletop.
Simple Joinery. The case is built with simple,
no-frills joinery. You can make all the parts
with nothing more than a table saw and drill
press. Rabbets, dadoes, and butt joints create
a strong cabinet that stands up to hard use.
portable convenience. On the job site or in
your shop, this router table can be quickly
clamped to a workbench or even sawhorses.
And theres a drawer at the bottom for storing bits, wrenches, and other items.

2011 August Home Publishing. All rights reserved.

OVERALL DIMENSIONS: 20"L x 32"W x 14!/4"H


Fence is easy
to adjust

O D D

I
J
L

Fence brace

Sturdy
two-layer top

Router
mounts directly
to tabletop

Q
R

S
M

N
T

P P

Pinch
block
U

Pivoting arm

60"x 60"- !/2" plywood


Router table
and fence are built
from one sheet of
!/2" plywood

Materials, Supplies & Cutting Diagram


CASE
A Sides (2)
B Bottom/Divider (2)
C Back (1)
D Front Stiles (2)
E Drawer Guides (2)
F Corner Blocks (4)
DRAWER
G Front/Back (2)
H Sides (2)
I Bottom (1)
TOP
J Top (1)
K Front Brace (1)
L Back Brace (1)
M Side Braces (2)
N Side Fillers (2)
O Arm (1)
FENCE
P Inner Faces (2)
Q Outer Face (1)
R Base (1)
S Braces (4)
T Pinch Blocks (2)





1 ply - 131 x 151


2
2
4
1 ply - 153 x 24
2
4
1 ply - 131 x 241
2
2
2
1 ply - 3 x 131
2
2
1 ply - 151 x 21
2
4
2
1 ply - 21 x 21
2
2
2
1 ply - 115 x 187
2
16
16
1 ply - 115 x 151
2
16
4
1 ply - 141 x 177
2
2
16
1 ply - 20 x 32
2
1 ply - 2 x 32
2
1 ply - 1 x 32
2
1 ply - 3 x 17
2
4
1 ply - 2 x 17
2
1 ply - 3 x 13
2

Tabletop lifts
open for easy
access to router

1 ply
2
1 ply
2

- 3 x 16
- 3 x 32
1 ply - 31 x 32
2
2
1 ply - 21 x 21
2
2
2
1 ply - 1 x 2
2

Top tilts
on piano
hinge

Arm pivots
to securely
support top

(1) Nickel-plated Piano Hinge w/Screws


(1) 14" Flat Washer
(1) 14" Lock Nut
(2) 5 16" x 2" Carriage Bolts
(2) 5 16" Flat Washers
(2) 5 16" T-knobs

Woodsmith No. 195 Online Extras

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2011 August Home Publishing. All rights reserved.

BACK

SIDE

24!/2
#/4

FRONT
STILE

a.

CORNER
BLOCK

24!/2

SIDE
DRAWER
GUIDE

13!/2
B

BOTTOM

2#/4

DIVIDER
(15#/4 x 24)

!/2 NOTCH
DETAIL

DRAWER
GUIDE

SIDE

15!/4

b.
2!/2

2!/2

15!/4
14!/2

BACK

DRAWER
BOTTOM

CORNER
BLOCK
SIDE

DRAWER
BACK

1!%/16

DRAWER
SIDE

DRAWER
FRONT

build the

c.

d.
DRAWER
SIDE
DRAWER
BOTTOM

TOP
VIEW

DRAWER
FRONT

!/8

Case & Top


One of the goals I had when building the case of the router table
was to make sure it could be built
quickly. But it still needed to be
strong enough for every day use.
Straightforward Joinery. As I mentioned earlier, the router table case
uses sturdy plywood construction with dadoes and rabbets. The
whole table is built from 12" plywood. (Iused Baltic birch.)
Sides First. I began by constructing
the case sides. In detail d, you can
see that theres a dado and a rabbet
cut in each side piece. This joinery
locks a divider and the case bottom
in place for a super strong, wigglefree assembly. The divider also
creates a pocket for the drawer that
will be added later.
Before assembling the divider and
bottom to the sides, I cut a 23/4"-wide
notch at the front corners of each

18&/16

FRONT
STILE

TOP VIEW

Woodsmith No. 195 Online Extras

17&/16

BOTTOM

DRAWER
GUIDE
CORNER
BLOCK

BOTTOM

!/4

BACK
SHELF

!/2

DRAWER
GUIDE

2!/2
!/2

!/2

DRAWER
SIDE

DRAWER
BACK

DRAWER BOTTOM
BOTTOM
FRONT SECTION VIEW

piece, as you can see in Figure 1a.


These notches hold a pair of narrow
stiles that keep the front of the case
rigid while still providing a large
opening for access to the router.
The back is a simple plywood
panel thats sized to overlap the sides.
With these main parts cut, you can
glue and clamp the case together.
Corner Blocks. The divider and
case bottom make the lower portion of the case plenty strong. But
since the tabletop isnt screwed to
the case, the upper part of the case
needs some reinforcement.
The solution Iused here was to
make four, angled corner blocks, as
illustrated in detail b. You can see
in the main drawing that Ipositioned
them 3/4" from the top edge of the
case. The reason for this is simple.
The hinged tabletop is designed to
nestle down over the top of the case,
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SIDE

NOTE:
Both bottom
and divider
are notched

so lowering the corner blocks ensures


that they wont interfere with the fit.
There are just two parts left to
add to the case before moving on
to the drawer. And those are a pair
of drawer guides. Theyre cut to fit
behind the front stiles to keep the
drawer from binding in the opening,
as shown in detail d.
Simple Drawer. The drawer in the
router table provides a place to
store wrenches, bits, and other supplies. And like the rest of the router
table, its straightforward to build.
In the drawing above, you can see
that a rabbeted frame simply wraps
around the drawer bottom. The relatively thick bottom provides plenty
of glue surface for a strong bond.
Large, Flat Top. With the case complete, I set it aside and turned
my attention to the top, shown
in the drawing on the next page.

2011 August Home Publishing. All rights reserved.

L M

CROSS SECTION

GG

MM

NN

TOP VIEW
SIDE VIEW

T T

UU

PART NAMES
NOTE: This
#8 x 1!/4" Fh woodscrew
NOTE: This
#8 x 1!/2" Fh woodscrew
FIRST:
This is DIMENSIONS:
OVERALL
A B C D
FThe
E #8
I is
J attached
K L This
H Fh
M
xG1#/4"
woodscrew
FIRST:
is
> Tilt-Up
Top.
top
SECOND:
This
CROSS SECTION
#8 xhinge.
2" Fh woodscrew
SECOND:
This
with
a
piano
This
allows
THIRD: ThisN O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
END VIEW
#8 x 3" Fh woodscrew
This
easy access to the routerTHIRD:
without
TOP VIEWA A
B B to Cbend
D!/8 E E!/4 F #/4
F
C !/16Dover.
GG
having
SIDE VIEW
&/8 N N
HH
I I
J J #/8K K!/2 L L%/8 M M
PART NAMES
OO

P P

VV

WW

#8 x 1!/4" Fh woodscrew
#8 x 1!/2" Fh woodscrew
#8 x 1#/4" Fh woodscrew
#8 x 2" Fh woodscrew
#8 x 3" Fh woodscrew

SECOND: This
THIRD: This

END VIEW

F F

NOTE: This
FIRST: This is

OVERALL DIMENSIONS:

!/16 !/8

!/4

#/4

#/8

%/8

&/8

!/2

17!/4

#8 x 1!/4" Fh woodscrew
#8 x 1!/2" Fh woodscrew
OVERALL DIMENSIONS:
#8 x 1#/4" Fh woodscrew
CROSS
SECTION
#8 x 2"
Fh woodscrew
#8VIEW
x 3" Fh woodscrew
END
TOP VIEW
!/16 !/8
SIDE #/8
VIEW
!/2

!/4

NOTE: This
FIRST: This is

#8 x 1!/4" Fh woodscrew
#8 x 1!/2" Fh woodscrew
#8 26!/2
x 1#/4" Fh woodscrew
#8 x 2" Fh woodscrew
#8 x 3" Fh woodscrew
27#/8
!/16 !/8
!/4
#/4

SECOND: This
THIRD: This

#/4

%/8
diameter,
its&/8plenty big enough to
Since this is where all the work will
PART NAMES
RR
S S
T T
UU
take place after the table is complete, handle most common bit sizes. To
XX
Y
ZZ
the Ygoal
here is to make the top as attach the router to the table, I simply screwed it to the top.
flat and rigid as possible.
The other two openings are a pair
Making a large top from plywood
isnt a challenge just cut it to size. of slots that will be used to connect
But with 1/2" plywood, you want to and adjust the fence that will be
make sure it wont flex under the added later, as in drawing below.
load of large, heavy pieces. So, to
Fillers and Braces. As Imentioned,
make this tabletop stay flat, its rein- the top is strengthened by attachforced around the bottom edge.
ing cleats to the underside. Besides
The top has a few openings cut into keeping the top from flexing, the
it. In the center is a hole that serves as cleats also serve another purpose.
the opening for router bits. At 2" in They are positioned so that the top

QQ

fits over the case like a lid. You can


#/8 !/2
%/8
see this in Figures
2a and
2b.&/8
Tilt-Top Design. Rather than screwing the top to the case, Iattached it
with a piano hinge along the back
edge. This allows me to tilt up the
tabletop and get at the router to
change the bit height without
having to stoop over.
Then, to hold the top open so Ican
use both hands, I bolted a prop arm to
the inside of the case with a carriage
bolt, nut, and washer, as shown in the
drawing and arm detail below.

TOP

2"-dia. hole

20

1#/4

1!/4

32
N

7!/2

SIDE FILLER
(2 x 17)

24"
Piano hinge
w/screws

#/8 Dia. hole

BACK BRACE
(1 x 32)

SIDE BRACE
(#/4 x 17)

NOTE: All parts


are !/2" plywood
K

FRONT BRACE
(2 x 32)

a.

Side
filler

Side
brace

Top
Arm

2!/2

FRONT SECTION

!/4" x 2"
Carriage
bolt

b.
1!/2

!/4"
Hex nut

Top

ARM
(3 x 12!/2)

ARM
DETAIL

Woodsmith No. 195 Online Extras

SIDE SECTION

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24" Piano hinge


w/screws
Front
brace

Corner
block

2011 August Home Publishing. All rights reserved.

Back
brace

INNER
FENCE FACE

FENCE
BRACE

8!/2

%/16"
washer

Rout a
#/8"chamfer
on cutout
in base
n

BASE
R

1!/4
16

1#/8

3!/2
1#/8

OUTER
FENCE FACE

1#/8

32

a.

b.

2!/2
Brace

1"-Rad.
cut out
n
Q P

PINCH BLOCK
(1 x 2)

2!/2

END VIEW
(Cross Section)

{ Router Fence. Grooves in the top

Fence brace
%/16"
T-knob
n

Inner
fence
face

%/16"x 2"
Carriage
bolt
n

Base
Pinch block

BACK VIEW
(Cross Section)

allow you to easily position the


fence and lock it.

a precision Fence
The last assembly to build to complete the router table is the fence,
as shown in the drawing above.
And its really what transforms the
router table into a precision tool
youll come to rely on.
For the fence to work its best, it
needs to do three things. First, the
fence needs to be rigid so it wont
deflect as a workpiece slides across
it. Second, the fence face has to be
square to the tabletop. This way,
you can be sure your cuts are accurate every time. Finally, it has to lock
securely to the tabletop.

Woodsmith No. 195 Online Extras

Heavy-Duty Face. The first step in


building the fence is to make the
faces. Here, Iused a double-layer
fence assembly. The added layer of
1 " plywood makes it less likely to
2
flex or warp over time. A centered
cutout in each layer is large enough
to accommodate most router bits.
Youll notice the inside face of the
fence is made from two pieces. I did
this in order to get all the parts from
a single sheet of plywood.
Stable Base. This assembly is then
glued to the front of a base that
has a matching cutout. To help

Page 5 of 5

dust and chips clear this opening,


Irouted a chamfer on the cutout in
the base (Figure 3a). To reinforce
the joint between the fence and the
base, I glued braces to the base and
the backside of the fence face.
Attaching the Fence. The fence is connected to the table with carriage
bolts, washers, and knobs. A pair
of pinch blocks slide in the channel
created by the brace and filler on
the bottom side of the table.
Once the fence is attached to the
table, all you have to do is plug in
your router and get to work. W

2011 August Home Publishing. All rights reserved.